Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I'm going to lead y'all into the next post coming up this afternoon, with a look at writing across gender, a vintage essay from The Atlantic. Early in my going with The Ax and the Vase, I put a great deal of what Mr. X and I call "mindtime" into the fact that I was a woman writing first-person from the perspective of a male character. Never mind that I was also attempting to occupy a world gone now for fifteen centuries; the concern was always gender-based, not world-building. So this essay renews some curious questions for me, and I hope someone will comment here on their experience, mine, the points made at TA, or any other thoughts ...

We're totally living in a time of giants.

Fun with science-nerding - NPR has two really cool pieces this week! One, on the development of GIGANTISM in whales ("It's the baleen stupid!" Okay, and population/migration feeding patterns.). Next: on the development of the human spine. Neat.

More from the animal kingdom (and The Atlantic) - a kinda-gross/macabrely comical moment with a flamingo that teaches us about their ability to balance on one leg. One more intriguing point: "explaining how the birds stand on one leg doesn’t tell us why they do." Too true. (Bonus points for the wonderful photo graphic even I could have created. Hey, but it's clear and gets the point across. "THIS IS THE KNEE." Hee.)

I have not written a real fashion post in far too long, but here is a great look at the revolution of Business Casual and dress through the twentieth century. For twenty years now, I've all but had to apologize (to other women) for being a woman who still wears pantyhose; today, I wore heels and a knee-length skirt, a soft knit blouse, and vintage rhinestones to work. I also "go to the office" about 95% of the time.

Fair warning on the plethora of excellent links above - and beyond - this blog might be simultaneously maddening and addictive. Also worth the clickage. This may be just me ...

One of these days, I'll have to look at the flip side of the casual revolution, and post about the daytime-ization of what once were exclusively evening and/or formal items - satin and rhinestones or precious gems, hemlines once reserve for weddings or for bars ... codes of clothing old and new. And the increased manufacture of cheaper, ersatz reformulations of these things.

Most of us are aware of Marie Curie's research in radium, but I for one was surprised to learn how, in part, it was funded - the part of the story so few of us find romantic. The story of the American women who funded her acquisition of the rare, expensive, element. Makes me proud to be an American woman (who also supports science).

Bat talk! No, this is not a new American talk show.; though it would undoubtedly be an improvement on most. No, this is a look into the linguistic patterns of Egyptian bats. And it seems they have a lot of things to say about where each of them sleeps. "SHOVE OFF!" being chief among those things. I wonder whether American bats just despair of how Kardashian-obsessed the local humans are.

... and then there's the science I am more skeptical to read. Hmm.

The thing about any popular science - even Smithsonian magazine - is, when I see claims that revise "common knowledge" by orders of magnitude, I am instantly skeptical. Indeed, when I saw the "news" about human occupation in North America circa 130,000 years ago (originally in a MUCH less respected news outlet), I took the "it must be this" conclusions of the scientific team as quoted with a very great deal of salt, and moved on without linking it here. Seeing this in a venue for which I have more esteem doesn't entirely change that. There's nothing at SA that contradicts the statements I saw and originally dismissed as facile, and respect for the outlet doesn't redeem paucity of evidence. Indeed, at least SA shows more detail, and healthy questioning of the conclusions. Barring reliable dating or ANY hint of middens, fires, architecture - or *human remains* for that matter, even within a few thousand years of the extraordinary dates claimed here - it all feels like so much faith-based archaeology does: kind of interesting, maybe fodder for a story, but not hard science. And not persuasive. The fact SA indulged the provocative headline is actually kind of bothersome. (Special note: stay away from the comments, they are dispiritingly racist and foolish.)

What do you think? About any or all of these links?

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